Categories
Books

The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi

The Rabbit Hole is written by Blas Moros. To support, sign up for the newsletter, become a patron, and/or join The Latticework. Original Design by Thilo Konzok.

Summary

  1. The Book of Five Rings is a text on kenjutsu and the martial arts in general, written by the Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi around 1645.

Key Takeaways

  1. The warrior must know literature, strategy, warfare, the way of death. This makes them strong and deadly
  2. The strategy of a general relies on applying on a large scale what they’ve studied on a small scale. The principle of strategy is knowing 10,000 things from a single thing. Knowing 1 thing deeply has compounding benefits
  3. If you master multiple weapons, you’ll know the right time for the right weapon. Each has its advantages and drawbacks. You should not become overly reliant on any one weapon and you should personalize each to your strengths and weaknesses. It is a negative to have marked preferences
  4. Learn to appreciate all things and to be able to judge the quality of it
  5. Do not perform useless acts
  6. Look powerfully. See gently

What I got out of it

  1. A beautiful and engaging book on military strategy that combines philosophy, zen buddhism, confucianism, taoism, and mastery
Categories
Books

The Energy Formula: Six Life Changing Ingredients to Unleash Your Limitless Potential by Shawn Wells

The Rabbit Hole is written by Blas Moros. To support, sign up for the newsletter, become a patron, and/or join The Latticework. Original Design by Thilo Konzok.

Summary

  1. In todays fast paced world, getting more energy is constantly top of mind. In this book, the author walks through 6 steps to build your resilience and get more energy

Key Takeaways

  1. Nutrition
    1. It’s not just what we eat, but how we eat
    2. Replace “diet” with “lifestyle.” Diet evokes restrictions and short term fixes where what we really need is a healthy lifestyle
    3. The author recommends a Neto diet, limiting carbs to <20g per day
  2. Exercise
    1. Quality > Quantity
    2. The ideal workout regiment has 2-3x/wk of resistance training, 2x/wk HIIT, 2x/wk aerobic workouts
    3. Simply exercising is not enough. You need to keep moving throughout the day and have us few sedentary sitting hours as possible
    4. Hot/cold exposure has incredible benefits. Contrasting hot and cold showers when you do 10 seconds hot for 20 seconds cold and always in the shower with cold is available and easy to do
    5. Creatine is a no brainer. 5 g per day from CretaPure
    6. 10-20 g of collagen per day is important for most
  3. Routines
    1. A morning and evening routine is vital. What gives you energy? What helps you start the day and end the day with intention? Meditate, exercise, go outside, spend time with family, journal. The important thing is that it’s authentic to you and driven by you and not some external force
  4. Growth
    1. As we age, we need to adjust our workouts and diet to keep strong and nimble.
    2. We must continuously grow or else we’ll fall behind and it’ll be nearly impossible to catch up
    3. Part of growth is giving back and helping others
  5. Finding your tribe
    1. Long term and healthy relationships are one of the most important variables In our happiness and longevity
  6. Finding your why
    1. Truly loving yourself
  7. Other
    1. Never buy supplements with proprietary blends
    2. Important markers to gauge mitochondrial health
      1. HSCRP at or below 3mg/L
      2. Hemoglobin A1C at or below 5.5%
      3. Oxidized LDL less than 2.3 mg/DL

What I got out of it

  1. I’ve spent a lot of time learning about these things, so there wasn’t much that was new to me, but if you’re just starting this health journey, this is a wonderful 80/20 primer
Categories
Books

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

The Rabbit Hole is written by Blas Moros. To support, sign up for the newsletter, become a patron, and/or join The Latticework. Original Design by Thilo Konzok.

Summary

  1. Good habits unlock potential and compound overtime to great result. The four phases of the habit include cue, craving, response and reward. Clear seeks to synthesize various bodies of work in order to create an actionable operating manual for how to improve your habits and, by result, your life.

Key Takeaways

  1. He starts the book out with the story of how he got slammed with a baseball bat in the face and how this ruined him physically for years. He was forced to relearn how to walk and this helped him develop discipline and consistency. He didn’t become a pro baseball player, but he did fulfill his potential
  2. A habit is a routine that is done frequently, often automatically. Changes that seem small and insignificant at first or compound over the years and make a world of difference. Habits are the compound interest of self improvement
  3. Focus on trajectory over results. You get what you repeat – your life is an accumulation of your lagging habits.
  4. Systems > Goals. You don’t rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems
  5. True behavior change requires identity change
  6. When the habit levers are in the right place, creating healthy habits becomes effortless
    1. Cue – make it obvious
    2. Craving – make it attractive
    3. Response – make it easy
    4. Reward – make it satisfying
    5. The inversion of the 4 above can help you stop doing things too (make it non-obvious, make it unattractive, make it hard, make it painful)
  7. The process for behavior change always begins with awareness
  8. When implementing a new habit, say what you’re going to do when and where helps increase the likelihood you’ll do it. Another powerful process is habit stacking – using the habits you already have in place to cue new habits you want to form
  9. Motivation is overrated. Environment often matters more. Design your environment to be productive and have visual cues to trigger healthy habits. Do your best to design it to also avoid any negative temptations
    1. Proximity is powerful. One of the most powerful things you can do is join a group or culture that exhibits traits you want to emulate. We copy and seek approval of the close, the many, the successful
  10. If you want to master something, simply start. Repetition is better than a perfect plan. Quantity leads to quality. The right question is not “how long will it take to form a new habit?” but “how many will it take to form a new habit?”
  11. 2 minute rule – make new habits as easy as possible, they should take less than 2 minutes to start. Standardize before you optimize
  12. Make good choices as automatic as possible and unhealthy choices as difficult as possible. Here are some 1 time actions that have recurring benefits
    1. Nutrition and health – buy a water filter, use smaller plates, remove tv from bedroom, buy blackout curtains, buy a great mattress, buy great shoes, use a standing desk
    2. Productivity – unsubscribe from emails, turn off notifications, set phone to silent, delete games and social media apps,
    3. Happiness – get a pet, move to a friendly neighborhood,
    4. Finance – setup auto payments, delete recurring services you no longer use, ask service providers for lower prices, auto enroll in buying stocks every quarter and rebalancing,
  13. Habit tracking, habit contracts, and accountability partners are wonderful ways to start positive habits or stop unhealthy ones
  14. Make sure to take your interests and proclivities into account. What comes easy to you that is hard for others?
  15. One of the things that separates the greats is that they welcome the boredom. They’re willing to stick with it even when they’re not in the mood or want to do something else. The greatest threat to success is not failure, but boredom
  16. The downside of habits is when they become such an entrenched part of your identity that you can’t see beyond them

What I got out of it

  1.  Clear does an admirable job of making a relatively obscure concept of “habits” very pragmatic and actionable. He provides real and concrete examples and catchy 1-liners to help cement them in your mind.
Categories
Books

Will

The Rabbit Hole is written by Blas Moros. To support, sign up for the newsletter, become a patron, and/or join The Latticework. Original Design by Thilo Konzok.

Key Takeaways

  1. A name carries a lot of weight. Will got his name from his father and what it signifies is his greatest gift, will, the ability to overcome
  2. Obstacles can seem insurmountable if you look at it directly. To overcome anything, take it one step at a time. If you do that, you’re invincible
  3. His dad was street smart where his mom was book smart. His dad had a military mindset where every detail mattered and everything was a mission. His father taught him the value of hard work and discipline, his mother the power of education, and his grandma the power of love
  4. Will has an insanely vivid imagination, bordering on delusional. He can make himself believe nearly anything and spends much of his time in fantasy. This makes him an incredible storyteller and empath, but also made him an odd duck when he was young
  5. Nothing beats funny.
  6. Most wait for wisdom before taking action. That’s exactly backwards. We have to act and take risks before we can gain wisdom. The universe only teaches through experience
  7. Environment is critically important. Choosing where you live is as important as your spouse.
  8. The universe is magical, not logical. Don’t try to make it “sum”, understand it is complex and illogical
  9. The story about how Quincy Jones flew Will out to LA to audition for Fresh Prince of Bel Air in the middle of Quincy’s birthday party is amazing
  10. There are only two human problems – knowing what you want, but not knowing how to get it. Not knowing what you want. – Stephen Covey. Clarity of vision makes things simple, brings clarity. It doesn’t make it easy, but it does shine the path forward
  11. A world class movie star is good at fighting, is funny, is good at sex  – 3 key human desires
  12. Will’s devotion to his word, to doing everything he can, being as prepared as he can, is admirable. Quitting isn’t in his vocabulary and it is amazing to hear the lengths he goes through to achieve all he can
  13. There is nothing more energizing or empowering than when you discover and live out your purpose
  14. Will had an unprecedented streak in the mid 2000s. His team took on the fight club mentality that was fostered during the filming of Ali. Everyone was pushing themselves to be better. If you weren’t helping, you were hurting
  15. Will openly discusses some failures in his relationships and some OS-level beliefs he had to rethink. He discusses how Ayahuasca helped him and how he learned that resting and listening is just as powerful as doing and talking. At the end of your life, the internal contentment you have is all that matters. Did you lead a useful life? Did you help others?

What I got out of it

  1. I found myself openly laughing out loud and crying at times throughout this book. I did the audible version and it was great to hear the book in Will’s own voice and intonation. Definitely worth the read
Categories
Books

The Master by Christopher Clarey

The Rabbit Hole is written by Blas Moros. To support, sign up for the newsletter, become a patron, and/or join The Latticework. Original Design by Thilo Konzok.

Summary

  1. Clarey, who has interviewed and followed Federer for decades, gives us a deep look into Federer and what makes him tick

Key Takeaways

  1. Federer so interesting because he’s so interested
  2. He is a master at making you feel normal. He asks about you first and makes you feel like a peer
  3. Fed finds a way to get energy from nearly everything and everyone. He embraces travel and makes it a point to learn phrases in the local language and to see the sights when he travels. He is very intentional about his schedule and is very self-disciplined
  4. Mirka was a good player in her own right but not super gifted. She was hard on Roger and kept him focused because she knew how special his talent is
  5. Federer has a lot of energy, anxious energy. He gets bored quickly and needs a lot of variety. He lost his temper quite easily when young and eventually learned to fuel his competitiveness, talent, and temper in a positive manner. It was about learning to control the flames, not extinguishing them
  6. The rivalry between Roger and Rafa is one of the best in any sport. The psychological dynamic between the two, the friendship and respect that they genuinely show each other, is rare and special. Rafa always held Roger up as a better player and what became clear to the author overtime is that Rafa is all about the process. He loves the process more than the hunt, more than the victory, more than anything else
  7. When Agassi presented the French Open trophy to Roger, he said, “A lot of people say you’d rather be lucky than good. Well I’d rather be Roger than lucky.”
  8. Mirka has played a pivotal role for Roger, serving as wife and mother and agent. She plays the bad cop to his good cop and takes care of all the details. They are very social and have made the road their home, traveling with their 4 kids everywhere. They are very social and everything appears to recharge Roger rather than drain him. Roger can compartmentalize like nobody else and he can do this because he takes the long term view and understand that he will sometimes lose but more often than not it works in his favor. He thinks in decades and because he has his family and other interests, doesn’t take any one loss too hard
  9. Roddick said he’s not jealous of his skill or titles but his ease of operation through every area of life
  10. My credo is “just be interested” and take accountability

What I got out of it

  1. Loved hearing more about Fed, especially about his early years, his off court dynamics and relationships. His “ease of operation” as Roddick calls it, across time zones, venues, and more is simply amazing. It is a goal of mine to be able to be energized by a wider variety of situations as he seems to be able to. What a gift to yourself and those around you if you can genuinely get energy from nearly any situation…
Categories
Books

Richer, Wiser, Happier: How the World’s Greatest Investors Win in Markets and Life by William Green

The Rabbit Hole is written by Blas Moros. To support, sign up for the newsletter, become a patron, and/or join The Latticework. Original Design by Thilo Konzok.

Summary

  1. The best investors are worth studying as they are practical philosophers, those seeking worldly wisdom. Their influence and practices can help us become better thinkers and decision makers. The purpose of this book is to share ideas worth cloning

Key Takeaways

  1. Studying investing is not only about learning how to make money, but learning how to think and make decisions
  2. Learning how to think by probability will do you more good than any book on investing. A dispassionate analysis of the facts and probabilities is one of the best mental habits you could build. They key lies in understanding how to optimize the odds for success
  3. Game selection is key. If you don’t have an edge, don’t play. There are many ways to make money, but they all require an edge
  4. Pabrai – clone the best ideas and habits of the giants
    1. People have a bug in their DNA where they feel shameful stealing the best ideas of others. DON’T!
    2. Clone the best ideas but be open to personalizing it to your personality and context
    3. Whenever you come across a principle that is correct but that most of humanity doesn’t understand or isn’t willing to follow, make the most of it! It’s an enormous competitive advantage
  5. Templeton – to get different results, you must act differently than the crowd
    1. You have to have the inner calm, willingness, and disregard of what other people think. You have to be ok with being lonely, different, and misunderstood for long periods of time. These investors favor winning and being right than sticking with the crowd
    2. Beware your own emotions and aim to take advantage of others’
    3. Beware your own ignorance, diversify broadly, have great patience, study the abysmally performing companies and industries, don’t chase fads, focus on value and not outlook
    4. Mastering yourself is of supreme importance
  6. Howard Marks
    1. The future is ever changing and it is your job as an investor to prepare as well as you can, knowing what you and do not know, making the best decision possible. Be humble and know that you are never immune from forces greater than you
    2. Marks is a master in risk, cyclicality, probabilities, playing the odds, seeking ideas in unloved areas
    3. Understand how big of a role luck plays in your success
    4. The question to ask is “how cheap is this asset given what I think it’s value is?” Don’t worry if it’s sexy or not, just look at value
    5. Everything that is important about investing is counterintuitive and everything that is obvious is wrong
    6. Beware the pendulum of history. Know your history but don’t expect it to exactly repeat. Never rely on things that cannot last. Be ready for change, for it will come
    7. Structure your life, portfolio, and relationships to be robust. Don’t maximize. Be ready for change. Adapt and evolve
    8. See reality as it is and adapt to it. Don’t fight it. If things are frothy, pare back. When there is opportunity, seize it
  7. Jean Marie Eveillard
    1. Eveillard was equipped to outperform over the long haul, avoiding all tech stocks in the late ‘90s. He underperformed for years, lost most of his investors, but didn’t budge. He was eventually proved right, seen as a sage, and funds rushed back. This takes great fortitude and the right temperament to go against the crowd. However, he was structurally fragile. Investors redeemed at horrible times, forcing him to sell when he least wanted to. He was also pressured by internal stakeholders at his mutual fund
    2. Don’t be in a rush to get rich. The key is safety, capping your losses. The gains will take care of themselves. This is resilient wealth creation
    3. It is all about surviving the dips. That’s the first step, even better is the ability to take advantage of them
  8. Joel Greenblatt – simplicity is the master key
    1. Figure out what it is worth, and pay less for it
    2. Stocks follow earnings (eventually)
    3. Take a simple idea and take it seriously
    4. Seek to reduce the complex to its essence. Only true understanding allows for this to happen
    5. Don’t make your biggest investments in the companies that can make the most, but in those you are most confident to not lose
    6. Cheap + good business is the holy grail
    7. For most people, the ideal strategy is not the one day of the highest returns, but the one you are most likely to stick with in bad times
  9. Nick Sleep and Qais Zakaria
    1. These two ran Nomad for 13 years and had wildly successful returns in a very concentrated portfolio
    2. They used what they call destination analysis, aiming to understand where a company is, where it can go in 10 years, and what would help it get there or veer it off course. This type of inversion or reverse engineering is wildly helpful in all areas of life. Where do you want to be at the end of your life and what can you do today to help you get there?
    3. They also took a simple idea seriously. They intensively researched companies they thought would do well over 5-10 years and spent all their time reading annual reports and talking to companies
    4. They came up with the model of “scale economics shared.” Amazon and Costco perfectly follow this playbook. As they get bigger, they use their scale to get lower prices and pass those savings onto consumers, fueling the cycle even further.
    5. Make quality the pursuit – in your investing, decision making, and life. Nomad wasn’t about raking in money, but a metaphysical experiment to see if pursuing quality would work. It did.
    6. Focus on the things with the longest shelf life, not the ephemeral
    7. Must look long term and have the capacity to suffer. This is another principle that applies far beyond investing. Sacrifice today so that you can have more tomorrow
  10. Tom Gaynor – The best investors build habits that compound over time
    1. Seek small marginal gains that are relentlessly followed. Time is the enemy of bad habits, the friend of the good
    2. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. A good enough habit you follow is far superior than the perfect habit you don’t
    3. Directionally correct, moderate efforts demonstrably work
    4. Find good things that last and stay the course. Don’t be caught up in the frenzy and fads
    5. The name of the game is longevity, not perfect maximization
    6. You don’t have to be extreme to get extreme results
    7. Gaynor considers himself a node in a massive neural network. He cultivated relationships and has many people helping him and rooting for him to succeed – the compounding of goodwill
    8. Forget about perfection, instead focus on continuous improvement that can compound over time. This is the aggregation of marginal gains
    9. Write down good habits as well as a list of things to not do
  11. Charlie Munger – aim to be consistently not stupid
    1. Inversion is a really powerful thinking habit. Before trying to help, first ask how you might harm. Must have great clarity on what not to do
    2. Collect stupidities and learn vicariously through the mistakes of others
    3. Rub your nose in your mistakes and learn from them
    4. Rely on first principles, don’t try to be perfect, be patient, adopt some guidelines and restraints to handicap massive mistakes
    5. Gain self awareness and beware psychological biases, hubris, the desire to get rich quick
    6. Learn to destroy your best loved ideas
    7. Pre-mortems and devils advocate reviews are excellent ways to mitigate your biases
    8. Be aware of your emotions and physical state before making a decision. A question as simple as “are you hungry or tired?” Can help your decision making
    9. Expect your portfolio to hit 50% drawdowns at some point. The point is to be ready and to be able to act rationally on the hard times. You have to instill good habits before you need them
    10. Be proud not only of your results, but also how you’ve attained them
    11. Life is a series of opportunities to learn how to behave well in difficult circumstances
    12. Nothing is more essential than simply surviving
    13. Build up wealth to be independent, to live the life you want without having to compromise or answer to others
  12. Arnold Van Den Berg – survived the holocaust as a child and this had a tremendous impact on his view on life
    1. Being rich consists of money, happiness, and peace of mind. Use your wealth to help and serve others

What I got out of it

  1. Really enjoyable book with some tangible takeaways for your life, investing, and relationships. Love his approach of highlighting eminent investors he admires and helping the reader understand how it can apply outside of the field of finance
Categories
Books

Genius: The Natural History of Creativity by Hans Eysenck

The Rabbit Hole is written by Blas Moros. To support, sign up for the newsletter, become a patron, and/or join The Latticework. Original Design by Thilo Konzok.

Summary

  1. Defining genius in a psychological manner. Genius, defined as supreme creative achievement, socially recognized over the centuries, is the product of many different components acting synergistically, i.e., multiplying with each other, rather than simply adding one to the other. Among the components are high intelligence, persistence, and creativity, regarded as a trait. Trait creativity may or may not issue in creative achievement, depending on the presence of the many other qualifications and situational conditions. Prominent among these additional qualifications are certain personality traits, such as ego-strength (the inner strength to function autonomously), to resist popular pressure, and to persist in endeavor in spite of negative reinforcement…Chief among these cognitive features is a tendency to overinclusiveness, an inclination not to limit one’s associations to relevant ideas, memories, images

Key Takeaways

  1. Genius and Psychoticism
    1. Genius is linked to but not full psychosis. Psychoticism may hold key to better understanding of genius
    2. Psychosis not correlated to genius as commonly thought; high pathology short of psychosis is helpful, as is ego-strength (emotional stability)
    3. Schizophrenics have ‘over inclusive’ thinking – filter mechanism breaks down and everything is important and related all at once. This looseness of thinking also found in the most creative, but doesn’t become psychosis
  2. Talent vs. Genius
    1. Talent works, genius creates – argues talent and genius lie on a continuum, not discrete
    2. Talent clusters in families, genius does not
      1. Necessary characteristics needed too are unlikely to cluster
      2. Despite Galton’s hypothesis of ’eminence’ being normally distributed, the evidence from creativity as achievement shows it to be very abnormally distributed
  3. Intelligence vs. Genius
    1. The distinction between a dispositional variable and what we might call an achievement variable (school success, production of a work of genius) is absolutely vital in understanding psychological analyses of abilities and traits. The distinction currently made between trait and state, say of anxiety, embodies the distinction. The dispositional hypothesis states that some people are more likely than others to react with anxiety to situations perceived as dangerous, and to perceive as dangerous situations which to others may not appear to be so. But a state of anxiety may be induced even in non-anxious persons by presenting them with a very real danger, while even those high on trait anxiety may be quire relaxed up on occasion when no trace danger looms
  4. IQ
    1. IQ tests very predictive of success, seems to be about 70% biological
    2. High IQ does not equate to genius, necessary but not sufficient (ambitious, chunking, training, perseverance)
    3. Achievement tends to be higher in nearly every category, contra to the common perception of the idiot savant
    4. Personality correlates with higher achievement as well
    5. We may incorporate Galton’s view as follows: Capacity (intelligence, special abilities) x Zeal (persistence, hard work) x Striving (motivation, fighting spirit) –> Reputation –> Genius
    6. Cognitive variables (intelligence, knowledge, technical skills, special talent) x environmental variables (political-religious, cultural, socioeconomic, education) x personality variables (internal motivation, confidence, non-conformity) –> Creative Achievement
  5. Creativity
    1. Often, the most creative act is the selection of the problem. Such a selection takes into account the importance of the problem, how much is known about it, previous attempts, possible remote sources of information not previously considered, probability that the problem is soluble at the present time, and many more
      1. Poincare – Invention is discernment, choice
    2. All cognitive endeavors require new associations to be made, or old ones to be reviewed. There are marked differences between individuals in the speed with which associations are formed. Speed in the formation of associations is the foundation of individual differences in intelligence. Only a sub-sample of associations is relevant in a given problem. Individuals differ in the range of associations considered in problem-solving. Wideness of range is the foundation of individual differences in creativity. Wideness of range is in principle independent of speed of forming associations suggesting that intelligence and creativity are essentially independent. However, speed of forming associations leads to faster learning, and hence greater number of elements with which to form associations. The range of associations considered for problem-solving is so wide that a critical evaluation is needed to eliminate unsuitable associations. Genuine creativity requires a) a large pool of elements to form associations, b) speed in producing associations, and c) a well-functioning comparator to eliminate false solutions.
    3. Mark Kac on Ramanujan: An ordinary genius is a fellow that you and I would be just as good as, if we were only many times better. There is no mystery as to how his mind works. Once we understand what he has done, we feel certain that we, too, could have done it. It is different with magicians. They are, to use mathematical jargon, in the orthogonal complement of where we are and the working of their minds is for all intents and purposes incomprehensible. Even after we understand what they have done, the process by which they have done it is completely dark.
    4. Key factors for creativity – resourceful, insightful, individualistic, reflective, intelligent, interests (wide), humorous, clever, inventive, self-confident, original, interests (narrow), confident, egotistical, unconventional
    5. Novelty emerges from an individual mind, when it is judged by a committee, orthodoxy will usually prevail
    6. Difficulty in scaling innovation – government entities try to by research and innovation the way they buy potatoes (committee, forms, etc..) and then a top-down approach where they give preference to areas that the government indicates are useful
    7. Fluency – Flexibility – Creativity
      1. Fluency – total number of responses
      2. Flexibility – various categories of response
      3. Originality – unusual, clever, or original responses
      4. Elaboration – how elaborate the response is, in terms of multiple details given
        1. Want originality (unique) + Fluency (number of ideas)
    8. High, but not the highest intelligence, combined with the greatest degree of persistence, will achieve greater eminence than the highest degree of intelligence with somewhat less persistence
    9. Training creativity does little – genetic and synergistic multiplier of right traits
  6. Personality
    1. Independence in attitude and social behavior, dominance, introversion, openness to stimuli, wide interests, self-acceptance, intuitiveness, flexibility, social presence and praise, an asocial attitude, concern for social norms, radicalism, rejection of external constraints
    2. The single trait that rates highest among geniuses is the desire to excel
    3. Some common traits – Middle/upper-middle class, Jewish or Protestant, educated, loss of one or both parents before 15
    4. 20-40 are the peak ages, slow decline after that
    5. It is possible that an excess of dopamine creates work-addicted geniuses that get positive reinforcement through their labors
  7. Intuition
    1. Simonton says that by ‘intuitive’ he means behavioral adaptations to the environment which are unconscious, ineffable (impossible to verbalize), and essentially probabilistic in character
    2. General Intelligence + Associations
    3. Intuition for complex tasks, analysis for the simple
    4. Great genius, the most creative, have the hardest time fitting in – they do not abide by social norms, so typically just get ignored
  8. Other
    1. Major innovations tend to come from outside the given field
    2. Clusters of genius in time may be due to great teachers
    3. Sudden illumination is a manifest sign of long, unconscious prior work
      1. There is the preliminary labor, the incubation period, the sudden integration, owing its existence to inspiration rather than conscious logical thought, and finally the verification or proof, perfectly conscious

What I got out of it

  1. An incredibly fun and deep dive into genius. Love the multiplier analogy – Capacity (intelligence, special abilities) x Zeal (persistence, hard work) x Striving (motivation, fighting spirit) –> Reputation –> Genius
Categories
Books

Learning to Learn and the Navigation of Moods by Gloria Flores

The Rabbit Hole is written by Blas Moros. To support, sign up for the newsletter, become a patron, and/or join The Latticework. Original Design by Thilo Konzok.

Summary

  1. Emotional engagement is essential to progressing up the ladder of skill acquisition. Handling negative emotions that come with failure is hard and this book sets out to provide a guide for how to cope in these tough times

Key Takeaways

  1. Moods & Learning to Learn
    1. Outline a taxonomy of moods to build a self-awareness and know how you are progressing, where you are, and how to overcome obstacles. This process helps develop the meta-skill of acquiring skills, the art of learning to learn
    2. Learning how to recognize moods, then shift to productive moods is the skill you ultimately want to develop
    3. We can begin developing the skill of learning to learn at a very young age by encouraging children to experiment, to take risks, and to make mistakes. School can play an important role in cultivating this ability
    4. A mood of defensiveness often shows up when we hear what we interpret as criticism
    5. In a world where uncertainty and rapid change are the norm, where we cannot control changes in technology, regulations, or the environment, but where we need to cope and navigate with these on an ongoing basis, learning to learn appears all the more as an essential skill we are called to cultivate 
    6. Learning to learn requires that we be in a mood that is conducive to learning. Often we are not. Moods are “attunements” to the situation we find ourselves in at any given moment which predispose us to certain actions. Moods are windows to our assessments and to the standards that support them. If we become sensitive to our moods, we may be able to open the curtains and observe how we see things, and discover whether our automatic predispositions help us achieve our learning objectives or block us. 
    7. Moods that get in the way of learning (pg 25) – confusion, resignation, frustration, arrogance, impatience, boredom, fear/anxiety, overwhelm, lack of confidence, distrust or skepticism 
    8. Moods that are conducive to learning (29) – wonder, perplexity, serenity/acceptance, patience, ambition, resolution, confidence, trust
      1. Learning to shift from unproductive to productive moods is a critical aspect of learning to learn. As we learn to become aware of our moods, and are able to observe ourselves in a negative mood that blocks us from achieving what we want to achieve, such as resignation, we can choose not to remain hostages to this mood, and take action to cultivate an alternative mood that is more conducive to achieving what we set out to achieve (reflect on your learning objectives and why that gives you energy)
    9. List of learning to learn resources on page 149
  2. Contrast in handling mistakes! Comparing healthcare vs. aviation and the difference that learning from your mistakes makes
    1. Every time an plane accident occurs, there is a deep dive into what happened. However, in healthcare, any sort of feedback loop seems lacking. Consequently, in contrast to the 400,000-500,000 premature deaths per year in healthcare, in 2013, 210 people died as a result of plane crashes
  3. Others’ expectations and what we ‘should’ know serve as roadblocks
    1. Common categories of assessment that get in the way of learning – important to be competent, efficient, independent, self-reliant, useful, prepared at all times
    2. Moods indicate which assessments we’re making
  4. Dreyfus Skill Acquisition model
    1. Beginner – advanced beginner – competent – proficient – expert – master
      1. A master reinvents the rules; generates new discourses and disciplines from anomalies in the domain. A master is willing to override the perspective that they intuitively experience and choose a new one for the sake of learning and contributing to their field. A master is willing to regress to earlier stages in the learning scale for the sake of taking risks and learning
      2. Masters deal with wonder, resolution, ambition and need to concern themselves with arrogance and resignation
  5. Education
    1. Education is not simply about the transfer of knowledge and the ability to apply concepts. When it comes to acquiring skills, particularly communication and relationship skills, education is about enabling others to take new actions that they weren’t able to take before. Second, as the Drefyus brothers argue, in order for someone to acquire new skills successfully, they must be emotionally engaged. A person must be involved
  6. The essential elements of an offer
    1. Speaker
    2. listener
    3. Conditions of fulfillment
    4. Background of obviousness
    5. Offer/Promise – action to be performed in the future by person making the offer/promise
    6. Specified time for fulfillment of the offer 
  7. Trust = combination of sincerity, competence, reliability, engagement/care
  8. Galilean Relativity
    1. Easterners perceive things holistically, viewing objects as they are related to each other or in a context, whereas Westerners perceive them analytically in isolation; Easterners use wide-angle lens; Westerners use a narrow one with a sharper focus. 

What I got out of it

  1. This book should be better known. The idea of matching not only time and energy, but also mood, seems like a superpower to learning effectively. This book helps you understand why and how to do this
Categories
Books

The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses by Jesse Schell

The Rabbit Hole is written by Blas Moros. To support, sign up for the newsletter, become a patron, and/or join The Latticework. Original Design by Thilo Konzok.

Summary

  1. The author provides 113 lenses in which to “view” game design from. Can be thought of as various mental models, perspectives, and / or as a checklist to help guide you in your game design journey

Key Takeaways

  1. Game design = decision of what a game should be
  2. Listening is the most important skill. Must listen to your team, audience, game, client, self
  3. A game is something you play, a good toy is fun, fun = pleasure + surprise
    1. Games are entered willfully
    2. Games have goals
    3. Games have conflict
    4. Games have rules
    5. Games can be won and lost
    6. Game are interactive
    7. Games have challenge
    8. Games can create their own internal value
    9. Games engage players
    10. Games are closed, formal systems
  4. 4 Basic Elements of Game Design
    1. Mechanisms – rules, procedures
    2. Story – sequence of events
    3. Aesthetics
    4. Tech
  5. Community
    1. 4 primary elements that provide a sense of community – Membership, Influence, Integration and fulfillment needs, shared emotional connection
    2. Give people the means to talk and communicate
    3. Create community property 
    4. Let players express themselves (avatars, conversation, emojis, vanity items, etc.)
    5. Support three levels – the newbie, the player, the elder (teacher, give back, extra access, a more difficult game, governance, create and add to the platform…)
    6. Force players to depend on each other – obligation to others is powerful
    7. Community events 
  6. Survey
    1. What was the most frustrating moment or aspect of what you just did
    2. What was your favorite moment?
    3. Was there anything you wanted to do that you couldn’t?
    4. If you had a magic wand to wave, and you could change, add, or remove anything from the experience, what would it be?
    5. What were you doing in the experience?
    6. How would you describe this game to your friends and family?
  7. Learning
    1. Progressing from knowing to knowing how to showing to doing
    2. To create meaningful transformations, you must clearly state the change you want to take place and also the specifics of how and why your game will foster that change. Really, this is our old friend, Lens $14: Problem Statement. Of course, to create a successful transformational game, you must come up with a solid solution to how you enable the transformation, but you can’t possibly do that until you have clearly stated what transformation needs to take place. 
    3. Find Subject Matter Experts – they are usually thrilled to be able to take their expertise into a new dimension and eager to make sure you have every detail right. Starts with feeling, move to anecdotes, then SME approval, informal surveys/assessment, and lastly scientific testing and assessment
  8. Lenses – there are 113 lenses that I won’t write out completely, but some that hit home the most include:
    1. Lens of emotion, surprise, curiosity, problem solving, toy, pleasure, flow, motivation, novelty, challenge, skill vs. chance, competition, cooperation, reward, punishment, elegance, beauty, hero’s journey, story, expression, community, transformation, your secret purpose

What I got out of it

  1. Some really helpful tips and ideas in which to think about game design. Fun book to read and the author really made the process come to life
Categories
Books

The Mutt: How to Skateboard and Not Kill Yourself by Rodney Mullen

The Rabbit Hole is written by Blas Moros. To support, sign up for the newsletter, become a patron, and/or join The Latticework. Original Design by Thilo Konzok.

Summary

  1. Rodney Mullen is the godfather of freestyle skating. He won his first world championship at 14 and over the over the following decade,  won 35 out of 36 freestyle contests, thus establishing the most successful competitive run in the history of the sport.

Key Takeaways

  1. Father volatile, dominating, forever wanted him to stop skating to focus on “real person, adult things”
    1. Had a big confrontation and Rodney finally learned that the calmer he got when his dad got mad, the more flustered he got. This further strengthened him and weakened his father
  2. Became obsessed right away with skating, practicing every spare minute he had. His parents always gave him many chores, though – “heavy doses of freedom anchored by responsibility”
    1. This is why I have a hard time calling skating a sport – it lacks a defining structure, and it’s constantly changing and evolving. It’s so fulfilling, and it pushed me so hard to be creative that it felt more like an art to me. I’ll read biographies that describe how different artists and composers would stay up through the night working, a feverish energy burning inside pushing them forward – and that was exactly how skating affected me from the start
    2. Being “centered” helps with every aspect of a trick
      1. Not only center of gravity, but centered in life
  3. Always very smart and loved deconstructing things to their very core
    1. I can recall vividly my mom showing me my first electromagnet. I was five at the time, and the experience blew my mind. Suddenly, so many things around me could be broken down and understood (or at least understood in my mind). by teaching me this one concept, my mother had transformed the world into a puzzle waiting to be solved. Switch on a light, and I’d try to figure out how the electricity ran through the wires, how the positive and negative charges worked together to light a bulb. One discovery led to another. I realized that every single thin around me could be broken down into a series of comprehensible steps, and I wanted to learn them all.
    2. Always loved physics and math but was so shy he had trouble meeting people’s eyes…“I often listen to physics lectures in my car while I drive and always have at least one book on quantum theory in my car in case I get stuck somewhere”
    3. Spent hours at night hiding under his cover with his miniboard to study, think, dream about tricks. “I’d flip my board a certain way and try to duplicate the movements over and over, memorizing a pattern for later, when I could try it on my real board.
    4. “At times like that, I try to shut down every distraction around me and zero in on whatever I’m focusing on. You could have yelled in my ear and I wouldn’t have heard you. Oddly, I wasn’t most impressed by the tricks the pros were doing, but by how comfortable they were on their boards. You could tell they were in a different league just watching them cruising around doing nothing. They had skating so wired that they didn’t appear to relate to their boards as separate objects. There was a unity of board and skater.
    5. I began keeping a skating notebook. I jotted down ideas for tricks and noted observations I’d made on how my board flipped, how different foot placements affected tricks, or how long it took me to fix problems and derive variations off new ideas. Then I’d rate the entire session, giving myself a grade as though it was a school report card
    6. Would time every one of his workouts – stopping his watch whenever he got a drink, went to the bathroom. 
    7. I appreciated his compliments, but I never thought of myself as being in a competition against him or really anyone else, stupid as that sounds. The sense of loss I felt was because I had failed to do what I set out to do. There was only one person to blame
  4. Tony Hawk
    1. He was an extremely smart guy, and you could see that skating was an extension of his intelligence just by watching the way he learned a trick…Even before I knew he had a 144 IQ (I read this in his book, he never told me) I could tell he was different from the average talented skater…He’d think of tricks while he was going to sleep and make a list of ones that he had to figure out how to land.
  5. Other
    1. Had some serious control issues (stemming from his dad) which led to some eating disorders and extreme behavior. He tried to see how little he could eat and sleep yet keep up his insane practice regimen. He eventually passed out after getting down to as little as 3 hours of sleep per night
    2. His dad forbade him from skating a couple times and it eventually led to depression. But, as soon as he was allowed to skate again, his appetite returned and he could sleep through the night
    3. His wife, Traci – Traci never cracked on me for any of my eccentricities. I think she was actually amused by most of them. She never pressured me to include her in my skate world, and it often seemed like she was happy doing her own thing and letting me do mine and then meeting in the middle
    4. Eventually sold the company he co-founded with Steve Rocco, World Industries, and became a millionaire. His only splurge was books

What I got out of it

  1. Amazing to read about Rodney’s obsession and dedication to skating, especially when learning about how secluded he was from others and the situation with his dad. His ability and inclination to deconstruct problems down to their essence stood out, as did his obsession – coming to dream and think about skating in his every spare moment